Flexibility in the workplace is a luxury that is quickly becoming standard practice as the modern day working environment continues to evolve.
Presenteeism is a thing of the past, and rightly so – employees subjected to presenteeism were found to be less productive, unmotivated, less likely to go above and beyond – and worse, often exhausted.
The major benefit to flexible working, of course, is that employees are able to make arrangements around working conditions that suit their way of life – enabling them to maintain a healthier and happier work / life balance. The benefit to employers comes in the form of a more engaged and productive workforce as a result.
Indeed’s 2019 Meaning of Work report showed that work-life balance was nearly equally important as salary when it comes to workers’ priorities. CIPD’s 2019 UK Working Lives survey shows that over half of the UK workforce are already working flexibly in some way, but more than half of workers would like to work flexibly in at least one form that is not currently available to them.
What does flexibility mean?
Flexibility is an employer supporting flexible working arrangements including working times, patterns of working and location. What it isn’t, is simply time off for a dentist appointment. Examples of flexible working arrangements include: part time, flexi time, working from home, job sharing, mobile working and career breaks.
Benefits of Flexibility
A business is only as good as its people. Empowered, motivated employees go the extra mile to see their company succeed. Providing a flexible workplace is proven to lead to greater productivity, better retention and a successful employee referral scheme. It widens the candidate pool, creating a more diverse workforce and often opens the door to parents or carers returning to work who otherwise wouldn’t manage on a rigid 9-5 schedule.
Employers can also experience cost savings, as businesses can save on overheads from employees working from home. Flexible working can also reduce absence rates and supports employees’ mental health and wellbeing.
It Works Both Ways
When we think of flexible working, we often talk of it being the employer’s responsibility but employees must also play a part. Employees who adapt readily to changes, who don’t hide behind a job specification, and are happy to take on more responsibility and additional tasks, are more highly regarded by their employers. Flexible working isn’t a mandatory requirement, it is rewarded by forward-thinking organisations who put a lot of trust in their employees – so it is important that as an employee you do not abuse that trust.
Flexibility has been a hot topic for some years now, and it is unlikely to change. It’s no secret that skills shortages are one of the biggest challenges to the Property and Surveying market and employers are having to work hard to attract and retain a skilled and motivated workforce. Genuinely supporting and offering flexible working arrangements has become a key differenciator when going up against competition to secure high calibre talent.
So what do you think? To work flexibly, or not to work flexibly?